Thailand makes move to increase export of agarwood

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Thailand makes move to increase export of agarwood

Related tags Middle east Essential oil

One of the most exotic and prized cosmetic ingredients, agarwood oil, is set to become one of Thailand’s newest luxury exports if one major plantation company gets its way.

With the help of Asia Plantation Capital, which owns and operates plantation and farming business across the Asia Pacific region, the aim is to put agarwood oil, also known as oudh oil, on the global map.

The plantation and harvesting of agarwood remains a very small industry mostly because it only grows in certain areas of the Asia Pacific region, mostly confined to southeast Asia.

Aiming to make Thailand a leading agarwood oil exporter

As an industry, the harvesting of agarwood and its by-products has largely dominated by Malaysia, which produces 50% of the world’s demand and exports most of that to China and the Middle East.

However, with the agreement now in place with Asia Plantation Capital, the aim is to increase the plantation and cultivation of agarwood trees and to become a competitive player in this segment.

With this aim, the company has established 3,000 rai of new agarwood plantations throughout Thailand, which have benefitted from the latest advanced plantation technologies, as well and state of the art timber processing equipment.

Asia Plantation Capital believes that the profile of agarwood is being raised internationally, which is giving way to greater curiosity about its possible uses, which include ingredients for skin care and fragrances.

Increasing the profile of agarwood oil

Most recently its agarwood oils were featured at the World Perfumery Congress in Deauville, France, which have been developed on the back of significant research and development by the company.

"One of the main barriers to oudh oils from nature being useable in international fragrances and cosmetics is being able to offer a consistent quality of oil. At the end of the day, when you are dealing with Mother Nature, this is not always easy; oils produced by local distilleries vary greatly, from day to day, due to the methods used and the standards employed,”​ said Barry Rawlinson, CEO of Asia Plantation Capital.

“Over the last few years, working with our Scientific Advisory Board in Thailand, Malaysia and China (as well as with expert consultancy groups in Switzerland and the Middle East) we have been able to identify the key processes which enable us to deliver a high quality and consistent standard of finished oil to the industry; bear in mind, any changes in the quality of the oil going into a fine fragrance can cause huge variations in the finished product -- from only a minute difference in the oil component.”

Oil extraction process relies on fungus

Agarwood oil is produced from a black resin that occurs in response to a fungal attack, while some oil can also be produced from the wood it has a different character

The oil is used as an anti-inflamatory, anti-microbial, healing of wounds, detoxifying, and it is also good for overall skin health, as is said to improve the complexion, while also providing relief from pain or irritants.

Because of its high price it is ideally suited to spa products and luxury skin creams, but could also be used for a variety of natural non-chemical products because of its ant- microbial properties.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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